Mafé, or Maafe
(West African meat in peanut sauce)
Mafé, known in English as groundnut stew, is an iconic African dish, popular throughout West Africa. This rich meat stew is thickened with ground peanuts, which give it a wonderful sweet-salty flavor. Ingredients and flavoring vary somewhat by region.
Alternate names and spellings for mafé include maffé, sauce d'arachide, sauce z'ara, tigadèguèna and tigadene.
6 to 8 servings
- Oil -- 2 tablespoons
- Stewing beef, cut into cubes -- 2 pounds
- Onion, minced -- 1
- Garlic, minced -- 3 to 6 cloves
- Ginger (optional), minced -- 1 tablespoon
- Tomato paste -- 2 tablespoons
- Tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped -- 2 cups
- Water or stock -- 1 to 2 cups
- Natural, unsalted peanut butter -- 1 cup
- Salt and pepper -- to taste
- Heat the oil in a large pot over medium-high flame. Add the beef and saute until lightly browned on all sides, 5 or 6 minutes. Remove to a bowl and set aside.
- Add the onion to the oil in the pot and saute until translucent, about 3 or 4 minutes. Stir in the garlic and ginger and saute another 1 or 2 minutes.
- Return the beef to the pot, stir in the tomato paste and cook for about 1 minute. Stir in the chopped tomatoes and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 8 to 10 minutes to reduce the volume of the tomatoes somewhat.
- Add enough water or stock to loosen the dish to a stewlike consistency. Simmer for another 10 minutes.
- Stir in the peanut butter and salt and pepper to taste. Cover loosely with a lid and simmer for another 40 minutes, or until the beef is tender and oil rises to the surface of the dish. Add water as necessary to keep the dish stewlike.
- Adjust seasoning and serve with rice or couscous.
- Meats: Use goat instead of beef. Or use chicken cut into serving pieces.
- Vegetables: Make mafé a full meal by adding vegetables. When you stir in the water or stock, add vegetables like cabbage, yams, squash, okra, eggplant, potatoes, sweet potatoes, peppers or carrots. For vegetarian mafé, eliminate the meat and use only vegetables.
- Some recipes call for cooking the peanut butter with the tomato paste, before adding the chopped tomatoes. This will caramelize the sugars a bit, giving additional depth to the sauce's flavor.